Standing Committee on Professionalism

 Originally charged to circulate and implement the recommendations contained in the 1986 Commission Report, "In the Spirit of Public Service: A Blueprint for the Rekindling of Professionalism," the Committee's mandate was expanded in 1989 and further expanded in 2004, so that it is now charged to encourage, recommend and provide assistance to ABA entities in the development and coordination of professionalism initiatives; encourage and provide assistance to state and local bar associations, the judiciary, the law schools, and the legal community.

Future of the Profession

Future of the Profession

The Relevant Lawyer : Reimagining the Future of the Legal Profession

. . . a unique set of expert insights on profound change ahead in the law practice landscape. . . examining cutting-edge issues confronting the legal profession. . . with guidance on what lawyers and legal institutions must do to adapt to disruptive change.

View - Video

E. SMYTHE GAMBRELL PROFESSIONALISM AWARDS

The annual E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards recognize projects contributing to the understanding of professionalism among lawyers.

Featured Products

Now Available!

A free companion Instructor’s Manual has been developed as an aid for law school professors, bar associations and other legal educators in leading discussions of the chapters of Essential Qualities of the Professional Lawyer.

Download - PDF

A Guide to Professionalism Commissions (2011 Edition)

The first edition of this publication was supported by a grant from the Program on Law & Society of the Open Society Institute. Bruce A. Green served as Reporter for the first edition.

Download - Complete Guide

Selected Current Books on the Legal Profession

The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services

By Richard Susskind (Oxford University Press, September 2010)

Order - Today

Failing Law Schools

By Brian Z. Tamanaha (University of Chicago Press, June 2012)

Order - now

The Vanishing American Lawyer

By Thomas D. Morgan (Oxford University Press, December 2009)

Order - Today

Reports

New! The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change 

Attached is a copy of The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change from the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being. The Task Force was conceptualized and initiated by the ABA

Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP), the National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC), and the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL).  It is a collection of entities within and outside the ABA that was created in August 2016.  Its participating entities currently include the following: ABA CoLAP; ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism; ABA Center for Professional Responsibility; ABA Young Lawyers Division; ABA Law Practice Division Attorney Wellbeing Committee; The National Organization of Bar Counsel; Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers; National Conference of Chief Justices; and National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Building upon the findings of 2016 ABA CoLAP/Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s study of mental health and substance use disorders among lawyers and of the 2016 Survey of Law Student Well-Being, with this Report and its Recommendations, the Task Force is seeking to create a movement towards improving the health and wellbeing of the legal profession.  The 44 recommendations contained within the Report are directed to various legal stakeholders such as judges, regulators, law firms, law schools, bar associations, professional liability carriers and lawyer assistance programs, all in an effort to change the culture and discussion surrounding attorney wellbeing. 

The report’s recommendations focus on five central themes: (1) identifying stakeholders and the role each of them can play in reducing the level of toxicity in the legal profession, (2) eliminating the stigma associated with helpseeking behaviors, (3) emphasizing that well-being is an indispensable part of a lawyer’s duty of competence, (4) educating lawyers, judges, and law students on lawyer well-being issues, and (5) taking small, incremental steps to change how law is practiced and how lawyers are regulated to instill greater well-being in the profession.  The recommendations also provide proposed state action plans with simple checklists that will help each stakeholder inventory their current system and explore the recommendations relevant to their group.  We invite you to read this report, which sets forth the basis for why the legal profession is at a tipping point, and why the Task Force is presenting these recommendations and action plans for building a more positive future. Read Report

Committee Statement

A Duty to Act: The Court Funding Crisis And a Lawyer’s Professional Identity